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Forum to Showcase Success and Grants Available for Healthier Local Schools

By Dayle Hayes, MS, RD

As Co-Chairs of Billings Action for Healthy Kids (BAFHK) Barb Hailstone (Registered Dietitian at St. Vincent Healthcare) and I are delighted to announce an event that you won’t want to miss if you care about kids. Three local organizations – all focused on student success – have joined together to help local parents and community leaders find the resources they need to create healthy environments for children in area schools.

BAFHK, Billings School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), and Yellowstone Valley PTA Council (YVPTA) are hosting a free forum for Yellowstone Valley parents, leaders, and school staff. Healthy Schools for Healthy, Happy, Successful Children is scheduled for January 20, 2011, at 7:00 PM in the Lincoln Center, Board Room at 415 N. 30th Street in Billings.

This two-hour forum is free and open to anyone who cares about kids. Pre-registration is not necessary for this exciting event. Every attendee will receive a free gift – and learn about thousands of dollars in grants available to local schools. Thanks to YVPTA and RiverStone Health two $100 door prizes for school nutrition/activity materials will be given away. In this raffle, the more attendees from your school, the more chances to win. Invite your friends, family, and neighbors to come with you!

The event has been designed to showcase ongoing successes in local schools – and to share resources so that parents and school leaders to do not have to “reinvent wheels.” The local success stories will includes school gardens (Canyon Creek School), Walk to Fundraiser (Highland School), and other examples from Billings, Billings Catholic, and Yellowstone Valley schools. These examples prove that schools and parent groups can make more money with events that promote student health than with the typical candy or cookie dough fundraiser.

Attendees will also discover the many resources and multiple grant opportunities available to schools from local, state, and national organizations and programs. These will include programs like Big Sky Fit Kids, Shape Up Montana, Healthy By Design, and MSU Extension nutrition education offerings.

Substantial funds are available to local schools, both as awards for having made healthy changes and grants for implementing new programs and policies. As an award, USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge offers up to $2,500 per school. So far, Ponderosa in Billings and the Luther School are the only local winners. Staff from Montana’s Team Nutrition and Safe Routes to School (both housed in Bozeman) will attend the former to share the grant opportunities (ex. up to $5,000 for mini-grants to support school wellness policy implementation) from their programs.

For more information about the forum, leave a voice mail at 406-655-9082 or send a message to BeThereBillingsChairs@gmail.com.

To see appealing examples of meals served in local schools as well as school around the country, visit School Meals That Rock on Facebook.



Dayle HayesDayle Hayes, MS, RD
Author, Speaker, and Nutrition Therapist

Dayle Hayes is a registered dietitian committed to innovative, delicious nutrition solutions for busy families. As a consultant to Billings Clinic, she specializes in positive nutrition tips, eating disorders, and sports nutrition. Dayle graduated from U. Mass-Boston and received a Masters of Science in Community Health Education from U. Mass-Amherst.
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